Friday, 24 May 2013

A Response To Joel Stein From A Lazy, Entitled Narcissist

I don't know why exactly I read TIME magazine. Perhaps it's because it's a way to make myself feel superior to the other teenagers who spend their time going to parties and other socializing events. After all, it is written by the intellectual elite, as evident by the articles talking about Hollywood films and petty celebrity gossip. Lately, an article had been catching the eye of many internet goers. I wasn't exactly sure why that was, mainly because there were a lot of edits of the cover circulating the Web. Finally, I found the actual magazine lying on the floor, covered in a boot print. It read, The Me Me Me Generation, written by some geezer named Joel Stein. He called us "millennials...lazy, entitled narcissists". It also said that we lived in our parents' basements. After reading the article...or should I say skimming through to the important bits, I felt the need to write my feelings about it. I wasn't really sure what to feel about it, pushing myself to write about it in a Starbucks cafe is enough work already. By the end, I'm sure you'll all agree with the brilliance that I pose in the following paragraphs. You have to, I deserve your attention!

First and foremost, Stein says that we are incredibly obsessed with ourselves. Now, I don't think that I'm that wrapped up with my own personal matters. I don't spend all of my time posting pictures of myself on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr and speaking about my point of view on a popular matter in the hopes of getting an answer. I only do that most of the time. The rest of the time is dedicated to playing video games and procrastinating. That describes not only me but other millenials. We're busy in our own little bubbles, playing on our phones and can't be forced to deal with crazy adult things like a "mortgage" or "student loan debt". Well actually, we have to deal with the latter because we need to focus on how we can balance that as we look for a job in such a terrible economy. Oh, I'm sorry, why am I worrying about myself when I should be worrying about the problems that the economy is causing to everyone else? I'm just proving Joel right.

At the end it's all the technology's fault for this. All these cellphones and tablets have hooked us into doing nothing more than babble incoherently about ourselves and push off more urgent matters. It has perpetuated our sloth and has fed our ego. Why bother thinking about how to make the world a better place for our children when we can just wait ambitiously for a new message from Facebook? That requires creativity, and technology has robbed us from that ability. I didn't know what else to do with Legos other than make towers, how can you expect me to find new ways to deal with a problem. There's no other way we can use the vast amount of resources that are available to us with the touch of a button if it doesn't involve reality TV hijinks. Technology is a manipulative plague on this generation, and it's doing nothing but create more problems.

There's no denying that there's a lot of issues that we millenials are going to have to face. Climate change in the environment being caused by years of pollution, a crumbling economy that seems to only reward the rich and overpopulation. That sure is a lot that we have to deal with, shame there's no app to solve any of these things. Even though the big J.S says in the end that we may have a chance of fixing everything, it's so completely obvious that what he really means is that the human race has finally reached it's peak and the only way we're going is down. Into the ground. Let's face it, we don't know how to push for greener initiatives, policies that distribute the wealth more among each other and...well, I'm not even sure how to fix the third issue! Why can't the older people fix our problems? It's not like we made the mess! Okay, maybe we had a small part in it. A quarter of a part in it. Half of it. Alright, fine, we had everything to do with it. But what are we gonna do about it? Rebel? Hah, you must be crazy!

In the time of the millenials, we're as complacent as Owen Wilson's acting. Any time we try to rebel for a cause, we lack the proper energy to show our passion for our fight. You remember Occupy Wall Street? That failed not because the rich people wanted to distract the middle class from just how much they were ripping the common man off or because police were shutting down the protest. It's because we didn't put our foot down hard enough. How about Kony 2012? That was a disaster. Joseph Kony truly was a dangerous war criminal and we just let him run free, naked on the streets, like the maniac he is. There's too much apathy in our generation and Ol' Jo sees that. We'd much rather just ignorantly follow the whims of our parents rather than try to change anything. That's why Republicans have absolutely no problem winning the youth vote. With our line of thinking, it's no surprise that it'll take two more centuries until homosexuals get the rights they deserve, provided that we last that long. How can we hope to fix the larger issues when we can't even let people marry whoever they want? 

Stein's article has shown me the light. A small, dim light that goes farther away as I desperately try to reach it.   There's nothing left to hope for in this dull and dreary world where the only ones that possess the information necessarily for our survival are retiring and/or turning senile. Why should I even bother anymore? This whole generation is focused on the latest entertainment instead of just how terrible we're going to have in a few years. Once we do finally get in the positions of power that could help us to find way to combat the pressing issues of the world, we won't be able to manage our resources properly. We'll want to complain to someone else and make them do our job for us like it was a school project that we handed to our parents. Except our parents won't be there to handle the dangerous tools. They'll be having far too much trouble even trying to chew their own food. Oh god, why does it have to be this way?

Wait, what am I saying? I'm a millenial. I have inventive ideas. I've had intelligent conversations with others that had nothing to do with whatever filth is on the TV. Sure, I like to post pictures of myself and talk about what I've done on Twitter, but so do people that aren't in my generation. It's not because we're self-absorbed, we just live in a generation we're it's easier for information about ourselves to spread about the world. We're not entitled because we're lazy, it's because we're sick of how the system is nowadays. We all feel the need to ask for something from the government, whether it's the early 1900s or the early 2010s. It's called a democracy for a reason, because it's run by the people. We may not have success rebelling in the conventional ways, but we still want change. That's precisely why Obama got to where he is right now, because he promised just that. And guess what? It's not enough. Joel Stein has no true concept about how we truly are. He can wave his statistics about how "58% more college students scored higher on a narcissism scale in 2009 than in 1982" (which by the way, he probably pulled out of one of his very objective sources, The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeapordizes Our Future (Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30)) and the like all around the place, but he doesn't know about our souls, our passions. I could do the same research that he did by staring at a TV screen for hours on end. As he so emptily shoehorned on to the cover to convince others that what he wrote wasn't just a rant, we shall "save [them] all".

Ah, forget it, I'm going to be completely frank with you. I have no idea what's going to happen in the future. The older generations are well-known for looking down at the younger heirs of the planet and rolling their eyes at whatever popular trends we follow. They complain about how ill-prepared, naive and idiotic the teens of today are and anticipate that the clock for humanity will be ticking it's last seconds soon. We millenials are not the first to face this though, as past generations have faced the same age-related prejudice. They probably didn't like such a sweeping generalization and fought hard to defy them. Look what they're doing now, they're pushing those same complaints onto us. While we can look at it as cranky pessimism, our slump has become deeper with the matter of climate change. Perhaps those coots aren't so crazy to call us youngsters "dumb whippersnappers". What they forget (aside from their teeth) is that they're still in the seats of power. Anyone these days can spew their opinion and throw surveys and tests around claiming that it proves the path to come, whether they're young or old. But like the weathermen on the local news channel, they could get their prediction wrong. We all have to wait until we take hold of the reigns of government and business and see what we come up with. If we can't handle the problem, we'll blame in on our children. If everything goes well, we can rub it in the faces of the folks at the retirement homes. You just have to give us a bit of TIME.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Breaking The Bits - Points Of Interest (glue70)

It's not his current logo, but I still love it.

I owe a lot to glue70 when it comes to my current taste in music. I'll admit that when I went to a site called Breakbit, I merely did it because I was interested in mrSimon, who previously had made some videos that I had grown very accustom to. The other artists to me didn't really garner my attention since they all seemed sort of the same. Then, I come across a video on Breakbit's channel called Jaffa Cake Jam. Then and there, I had witnessed first-hand the wonders of glue70. Not only did I enjoy that song, but I proceeded to download all of his EPs and albums. That in turn introduced me to Glenn Miller (All of Ode To Glenn and Jaffa Cake Jam from Glue Sniffer) and Mr. Oizo (Inflated from Photo Real as well as this), who are both great artists. There's a lot I've learned from music from him and he really has that element to him that I've found in so many Breakbit artists. Along with Vaervaf, they are the two only artists ever that I have each and every of their albums and I absolutely enjoy a great deal of their work. I would have put glue70 on the trifecta of artists who have evolved from sample-heavy tunes to more original and flowing melodies like I did with Orangy and Vaervaf, but glue70 had a less glitchy and violent method. But without him, I wouldn't have taken more of those risks to try the other artists and enjoy their experimentation.

Hey, if putting a triangular prism on their album worked for Pink Floyd, it should work thricefold here.

A while back I mentioned that Worldwide Digitizing was my number 1 pick as the best album of 2012, at least on the Breakbit circuit. A lot of artists evolved but glue70 really took it to another level by straying away from his style on altering a song in a new rhythmic manner and instead used samples a means to spice up a newly created song. Hell, at some moments it was hard to tell if there was some sample used or if he simply went with scratch. It really was a magnificent work. Eagerly awaiting his newest work, I stumbled across a tune of amazing proportions on his Soundcloud. There and then I knew that something new was in the works. I was stoked and soon I found a video that showed that something new was in the works. And then the retro-looking promo came up and I dropped everything to get Points Of Interest. Unfortunately for me, Bandcamp was being the biggest bastard in the world. It had been for a while, right when I wanted to catch up on what I missed with DR777 (and a few others), so I was relatively screwed until a friend of mine decided to help me out with the issue. Sadly I only managed to get one of the albums off the list of the many that I wanted, but you can probably infer which one I got. Soon I was with the album in my iTunes and I was listening to each tune to take in what I had heard.

Generally, the songs have a throwback to older styles of electronic music, but it gets melded with a newer mentality. That is to say that glue70 has modernized the past. Oddly, he's done that quite a bit, most notably in Ode To Glenn. The difference is that this is a more aesthetic choice rather than it being a sample choice. The beats are more reminiscent of downtempo yet there's clear amount of experimentation with the movement of the songs and the sampling that is inserted. Simply put, think of it like if a robot went back in time and tried to emulate the music of the past. It gets the concepts, but it also puts its own modern spin. The promo is very fitting for the album as well as it does get you into that realm where everything sounds like it's coming out of a bizarre video tape that only records [adult swim bumps]. Everything sounds very relaxed and  surreal enough to make you think you're sitting there waiting for a new episode of Squidbillies.

The album starts off with Convey Your Thoughts, and everything seems all groovy and bouncy. Then it cuts to a voice (which I'm not sure is actually glue70) that is constantly distorted and hopes that you enjoy it. It's a pleasant introduction to the album, although it's a tad on the short side and can't really be shared so much with others, despite it's fantastic beat. Then we get to Escape which pretty much does that. The music transports you to a more mellow and mysterious funk that pretty much does what Convey Your Thoughts would have done it if was more instrumental. It gets things moving but sadly it fades in too soon. Now, that's not too problematic because it at least feels more complete and fleshed out, but it couldn't hurt if it was longer. Plastic Way Of Life then comes along and this is where you really feel the "[as] bumps video tape music" bit that I was talking about come by. Well, aside from it being a promotional song that had that style in it, there's the fade in and out of the samples that come through along with the vinyl crackle throughout the tune. The song hits certain points properly and it flows wonderfully because of such movement. It's typical for electronic songs to do that, but glue70 pulls it off in quite an interesting way. Then we have Casin, which is when we really get a full and rich tune to bop your body too. Everything that needed to be done from the fade in to the insertions of the voice coming to and fro were placed where they needed to be and in turn make it great. There it doesn't feel like it needs to be longer because it feels like everything that needed to take place took place.

Don't worry, this is relevant...but not in an insulting way.

Now we come to Highway Broken, which is quite honestly the most brilliant song I have ever heard glue70 make. It's like putting a Mentos into Diet Coke, it starts to bubble up and soon a blast of pure, sweet energy fires out. I can just feel the love, the passion and the sheer wonder that is exerted from each note. It is as precise as Casin and it creates such a great atmosphere of heavenly magic that would make me sound more like a fanboy than I already do. I do love this song, it was one of the primary reasons I wanted to get the song. Domestic Silence is next and while it can be jarring to go from one style to another so abruptly, but that doesn't mean it's not a good tune. It has a more idiosyncratic melody and movement, and it does a weird transition halfway through and it probably is one of those songs that depending on who you are, you will either love, hate or be indifferent to. Afterwards comes These Street Walkers which has a peculiar intro and choice of sample, but it moves much like a simple electronic song does. It eventually starts to get more energetic and then ends off in one of the coolest ways I've heard. Oh...wait...well, it almost did, but it still worked. We proceed with Car Freshener which I would say is the most experimental of the bunch. Now this one is another one that could either make it or break it for you, but I think one should appreciate it for doing something more unique and indescribable. I think in that respect it should at least get credit for trying something more alien, even if it isn't absolutely astonishing.

Otherside Avenue swooshes right in and has another message telling us to enjoy the song. Kind of odd, but in a way it's fitting. Sort of. I'll admit, I don't quite like the song that much, at least not in respect with all the other songs, but it still has a nice pace and movement to it. Quiet Mary Talking, on the other hand, I really dig with it's experimentation and movement. Even though I've said before in my selections that some of glue70's tunes may stray away others due to its style, I definitely think that this one really captures not only the proper elements to something different but can appeal to a more general listener. It should at least be a little more "easy" to listen to. Fraser Can't Play  goes back into the problems of some of the previous selections of being too short and maybe throwing some of the listeners off, though I don't think there really could be anything else you could do to make the length better. At least to me. By no means is it perfect with the length it has, but trying to add anything else to it or making it longer wouldn't work well with the flow. Dirt Degree changes that slightly as it serves as a middle ground for glue70's style to flourish whilst also trying to to bring things back to a more "mainstream" mood. The flow works and it grounds things back so that you can get back into the album.

With Step Into The Sunshine, it takes the album to a more hip-hop groove and it certainly flows well after Dirt Degree. You get back into it and you enjoy more of the mellow nature that most of the songs offer. Then comes At Kins which once again throws regular listeners off. It has a great movement and a delightfully abstract mood that while it can be great, also confuses the listener. With the right mindset, they should acknowledge that the more experimental bits are part of his style, but at the same time I sympathize with those who'd view the album's feel switching back and forth so much. Safe History does well after At Kins since it just takes the experimental at full value and takes it to a more hip-hop route. It ends shortly but like Fraser Can't Play, if it was any longer it wouldn't work. Finally, we have J'Adore Le Jus D'Orange which j'adore parce que c'est tres catchy. It's very catchy and simply and will get people back into it. It sums up all that the album is supposed to be and it does it so wonderfully.

That's one juicy tune, alright.

Points Of Interest delivered with what I was expecting. It's everything that I was expecting and more. It showed the growth and skill that glue70 exerts with his ever-changing style. It veered off into new territory and it also took some lessons from old. Whilst some of the songs were short and some of the experimentation could fend off newer listeners, there isn't enough abnormalities in the album to truly alienate the common music connoisseur. And with the right mindset and more familiarity to glue70's methods, one could really enjoy the album. The mood may not be consistent, but it's that mish-mash of different feelings that makes the songs by themselves all the better.


1. Highway Broken
2. Casin
3. J'Adore Le Jus D'Orange
4. Plastic Way Of Life
5. Quiet Mary Talking